Turning agents of disease into tools for health and better living
New book explores research into viral nanoparticles
The burst of research over the last two decades, with explanations aimed at undergraduate and graduate college students and scientists within and outside the field, is described in a new book written by Nicole Steinmetz, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University, and Marianne Manchester, a professor of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of California at San Diego.
The textbook, 'Viral Nanoparticles: Tools for Materials Science and Biomedicine', summarizes the work done by engineers, chemists, physicists, materials scientists, medical researchers and others; the viruses used and the applications. The book is available now.
"The field is rapidly expanding, with people from more and more backgrounds coming into it," said Steinmetz, who has been manipulating viruses since she was an undergraduate researcher. Earlier in her career she created multilayered thin film arrays made of multiple 3-dimensional viral nanoparticles for use in sensors or nanoelectronics, but is now focusing on the application of plant viruses for medical use, such as cancer detection and imaging and targeted drug delivery.
Manchester has long specialized in the interface between viral nanoparticles and physiologic systems, defining the ways that viruses interact with cell surfaces and organs within the body. "The field is now poised to move forward toward commercial and clinical applications," she said. "The book provides an overview of these challenges and opportunities".
Viruses are finding a wide range of uses in nanoscience and nanotechnology, because of a host of practical traits, she explains. Viruses are already nano-sized – 100,000s of times smaller than the width of a human hair. Their structures have been optimized by nature, physically and chemically each unit of the same strain of virus is identical, they're cheap and easy to produce and they easily self-assemble into two-and three-dimensional structures.
The infectious agents are also stable, hardy and biocompatible.
The book details how researchers have mineralized viruses to produce nanowires used in nanoelectronics, and build thin-film micro-arrays. The authors explain how scientists have rendered the infectious agents benign, as well as genetically or chemically altered versions for specific uses.
They tell how they and others have modified the surfaces of viral nanoparticles to link up with targets, such as tumor cells, and modified their interiors to carry medicines, fluorescent chemicals used in imaging applications, or other cargo.
Previous Story: See Yourself Sensing Exhibition
Next Story: New drug delivery device invented to treat diabetes-related vision loss
The Institute of Nanotechnology puts significant effort into ensuring that the information provided on its news pages is accurate and up-to-date. However, we cannot guarantee absolute accuracy. Consequently, the Institute of Nanotechnology disclaims any and all responsibility for inaccuracy, omission or any kind of deficiency in relation to the news items and articles hosted herein.
- 14 August 2014“Trojan horse” treatment could beat brain tumours
- 13 August 2014Copper foam turns CO2 into useful chemicals
- 29 July 2014Nanotechnology and tyres: Greening industry and transport
- 22 July 2014Supporting Recommendations for Future Topics in Horizon 2020
- 17 June 20142014 edition of European NanoSafety Cluster Compendium now online
- View All